How Does Covington Get To No. 1 After Beating Washed Up Woodley?

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  • Colby Covington is the new top rated contender in the UFC’s welterweight division.
  • Covington defeated Tyron Woodley via stoppage during last weekend’s main event.
  • British Leon Edwards is the odds on favorite to be Covington’s next opponent.

Love or hate him, the trash-talking Colby Covington has found his way back to the top of the mountain.

After defeating a washed-up Tyron Woodley at last weekend’s main event, Covington did enough to earn the UFC rankers’ nods as the new no.1 contender in the welterweight division. Last June, Gilbert Burns rocketed to the top spot after defeating Woodley at UFC on ESPN 9. So is Tyron Woodley the barometer for the #1 spot? Not if you read the UFC’s website.

According to the UFC, this is how they arrive at the rankings:

“Rankings were generated by a voting panel made up of media members. The media members were asked to vote for who they feel are the top fighters in the UFC by weight-class and pound-for-pound. A fighter is only eligible to be voted on if they are in active status in the UFC. A fighter can appear in more than one weight division at a time. The champion and interim champion are considered to be in the top positions of their respective divisions and therefore are not eligible for voting by weight-class. However, the champions can be voted on for the pound-for-pound rankings.”

Really? Come on. Gilbert Burns was the no. 1 contender last week. The Brazilian hasn’t fought yet since dismantling Woodley last June. What makes Covington’s win over Woodley better than Burns’ triumph over the Chosen One? Only the voting panel knows.

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When Burns faced Woodley, the former champion had not fought since losing to Kamaru Usman and was still considered a top threat to reclaim his belt. However, after Burns unmasked Woodley as a washed-up ex-champ, it was expected that Covington would beat Woodley anyway. In fact, The Chosen One was a +280 betting underdog against Covington. So what was the significance of beating a 14/5 dog? Only Uncle Dana knows.

As far as we know, Burns will be challenging Usman for the welterweight title at UFC 256 which is targeted for December 12th. That was the correct fight to make as he was the no. 1 contender when it was announced. But just because he already has his title shot, does it mean that the rankers can take away his number one position?

The rankings are judgemental and they do not always determine who gets the title shot. But for the sake of credibility of the rankings, why remove Burns from the top spot and replace him with someone who beat the same fighter that he (Burns) last defeated. Had Covington defeated Leon Edwards or Jorge Masvidal, that would have been easier to swallow.

Colby’s Next Fight

Speaking of Leon Edwards, Rocky is the oddsmakers’ betting favorite at +300 to become Covington’s next opponent. BetONline also listed Jorge Masvidal (+350), Kamaru Usman (+450), Gilbert Burns (+500), Nick Diaz (+700), Stephen Thompson (+900), and even Conor McGregor ( +1500) as Covington’s possible opponents. Among the list, it’s Edwards that stands out.

Edwards is the 3rd ranked welterweight in the UFC and he’s won eight consecutive fights. He was supposed to face Woodley ( him again) last March but due to issues related to COVID-19, he withdrew from the bout. Edwards was also offered a title shot against Usman owing to the same reasons, he declined and it was awarded to Gilbert Burns.

Rocky called out Covington after Chaos’ win over Woodley last weekend and that was a good move for him because Edwards was looking for a fight with Jorge Masvidal. Beating Masvidal would give him revenge for the “three piece with a soda” that Gamebred gave him last year. But as far as getting a title shot is concerned, it won’t move a needle. Fighting Covington will.

Title Eliminator

A Colby Covington vs Leon Edwards bout could be a title eliminator fight. Since Covington is the new no. 1 contender and Edwards is no. 3, then it’s either them who has the next shot at the winner of UFC 256 since no. 2 Gilbert Burns is already fighting Usman in December. Next in the rankings are no. 4 Jorge Masvidal and no. 5 Stephen Thompson don’t merit a title shot right now.

Unless Burns upsets Usman and Dana White gives Marty an immediate rematch, there is no doubt that either Colby Covington or Leon Edwards deserves the next title shot. So why not put them together inside the octagon to determine who gets the next crack at UFC gold?

Until then, it’s hard to think of Colby Covington as the no.1 contender right now. He’s hard to like not just because of his affiliation but because of his attitude. But those have nothing to do with this. Colby Covington is one of the best welterweights in the UFC. However, he isn’t the true no. 1 contender right now.

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